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Hank Aaron Award nominees announced (and then picked apart)

Oct 3, 2011, 6:00 PM EDT

Dustin Ackley Getty Images

The Hank Aaron Award nominees were announced on Monday.  The award is meant to honor the best offensive performers in each league.  As always, there’s one nominee from every team and the winner will be selected by a fan vote in combination with a vote of select Hall of Fame players.

Here are the nominees:

American League
Baltimore: J.J. Hardy
Boston: Adrian Gonzalez
Chicago: Paul Konerko
Cleveland: Asdrubal Cabrera
Detroit: Miguel Cabrera
Kansas City: Alex Gordon
Los Angeles: Mark Trumbo
Minnesota: Michael Cuddyer
New York: Curtis Granderson
Oakland: Josh Willingham
Seattle: Dustin Ackley
Tampa Bay: Evan Longoria
Texas: Michael Young
Toronto: Jose Bautista

Of course, with one player from every team nominated, the fans can vote for Ackley for AL offensive player of the year, but not Jacoby Ellsbury, David Ortiz or Robinson Cano.

The pretty awful pick here was Trumbo over Howie Kendrick on the Angels. Of course Kendrick didn’t match the first baseman when it came to RBIs, but he hit .285/.338/.464 to Trumbo’s .254/.291/.477.

Young was the Rangers’ fourth best hitter, but he played in 159 games, while Mike Napoli, Adrian Beltre and Josh Hamilton played in 113, 124 and 121 respectively. Napoli still deserves the nod, though. He hit .320/.414/.631 to Young’s .338/.380/.474.

National League
Arizona: Justin Upton
Atlanta: Brian McCann
Chicago: Aramis Ramirez
Cincinnati: Joey Votto
Colorado: Troy Tulowitzki
Florida: Mike Stanton
Houston: Carlos Lee
Los Angeles: Matt Kemp
Milwaukee: Ryan Braun
New York: Jose Reyes
Philadelphia: Ryan Howard
Pittsburgh: Andrew McCutchen
St. Louis: Albert Pujols
San Diego: Cameron Maybin
San Francisco: Pablo Sandoval
Washington: Michael Morse

Things were cut-and-dry for a lot of NL teams. It’s a shame Hunter Pence couldn’t get a nomination, considering that he was better than Lee in Houston and Howard in Philadelphia. Shane Victorino probably should have been the Phillies’ selection, but… yeah, fat chance.

St. Louis was the one I’d most argue against. Lance Berkman hit .301/.412/.547 to Pujols’ .299/.366/.541. That nearly 50-point difference in OBP is very significant, and Berkman only played in two fewer games over the course of the season.

I’m not going to complain about Maybin (.716 OPS). Chase Headley (.773 OPS) and Nick Hundley (.824 OPS) were considerably better hitters, but they played in 113 and 82 games, respectively.

  1. drmonkeyarmy - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    Victorino’s OPS was marginally better than Howard’s (.847 vs .835) so it’s not like he was robbed. When you factor in the peripheral numbers such as RBI…yes RBI then I think Howard was the right choice given that Pence only played 54 games with the Phillies. Had Victorino not sucked the last month of the season then he would have been the choice. In many cases it is understandable, but in this case your comments and innuendo about Howard are unfounded.

    • Bryz - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:18 PM

      I don’t believe RBI is counted as a “peripheral” stat.

      • drmonkeyarmy - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:26 PM

        It has been reduced to a peripheral stat these days. I don’t think it should be but it is the reality of the baseball world today.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:50 PM

        “It has been reduced to a peripheral stat these days. I don’t think it should be but it is the reality of baseball’s stat geek dominated world today.”

        FTFY

      • scatterbrian - Oct 3, 2011 at 7:22 PM

        Stat geeks are ruining your stats?

      • mikedi33 - Oct 3, 2011 at 7:25 PM

        I really dont understand the lack of respect for Howard. If he played in New York they would consider him a first ballot HOFamer. It is also odd how noone questions Albert’s RBI’s.

      • cktai - Oct 4, 2011 at 5:07 AM

        Pujols does not play in New York. And Pujols is not valued primarily for his RBIs. He is valued for his career .328 avg, .420 OBP and .617 SLG while being a plus defender. Compare this to Howard and his .275 avg, .368 OBP and .560 SLG while being a mediocre defender. Howard is a good hitter, and no-one will deny that he is one of the best hitters in the Phillies line-up, but compare him to other first basemen on anything other then RBIs and he really is not all that impressive.

  2. proudlycanadian - Oct 3, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    Bautista was the best hitter in the AL.

    • missthemexpos - Oct 3, 2011 at 8:13 PM

      If Bautista repeats he would join Bonds and Rodriguez as the only consecutive winners. However Joey Bats does not need any performance enhancers to get the job done.

    • mabunar - Oct 4, 2011 at 11:13 AM

      Bautista Pre All Star: .334/.468/.702 31 HRs
      Bautista Post All Star: .257/.419/.477 12 HRs

      Ellsbury Pre All Star: .316/.377/.490 11 HRs
      Ellsbury Post All Star: .328/.375/.625 21 HRs

      I know he’s not nominated, but I’d rather have the guy that got better as the season went on, than the guy that faded away. But go ahead name Bautista your MVP choice because he’s not a NY/BOS player, but I don’t buy him being the best hitter in the AL this year.

  3. scatterbrian - Oct 3, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    Napoli, Beltre, Hamilton and Kinsler were all better than Young.

  4. goawaydog - Oct 3, 2011 at 7:22 PM

    Thank you Panda, without him there would not be a Giant on this list.

  5. Old Gator - Oct 3, 2011 at 8:48 PM

    The Iron Giant was obviously the only choice from the Feesh. Even though, on paper, he doesn’t quite measure up to a Pujols, or a Berkman, or some of the others – yet – the kid is just 21 years old and his “sophomore slump” year was a season of improvements in almost every offensive and defensive department (we learned that he’s got a Kaline-quality howitzer for an arm out there, and he’s accurate). Plus, he’s got a stable, realistic view of himself and how far he’s got to go; he’s remarkably mature for his age in a professional sense, and he just loves watching fans scramble across the blue seats out in far left center for his moonshots.

    Incidentally, Joe Frisaro, the MLB.com beat writer for the Feesh, predicted today that he expects Scrooge McLoria and the Chihuahua to make a real push for Prince Albert. Okay, between you and me I think there’s about as much chance of that coming to anything as I do that Harold Camping’s next prediction of the Rapture will be right for a change, but still – Gaby Sanchez, Albert Pujols and the Iron Giant as a 3-4-5 (or the Hanster, Albert, the Iron Giant and Gaby as 3-4-5-6) is a pretty neat heart of the lineup to have wet dreams about until reality sets in.

  6. offseasonblues - Oct 3, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    Gonzo was not the best offensive player on my team, so I’ll vote for somebody else. Bautista or Cabrera … Joey Bats might win just for the name.

    • mabunar - Oct 4, 2011 at 11:21 AM

      What are people smoking with the Joey love?

      Cabrera hit .385 in the second half!

      Bautista has HRs over Mig, but that’s bout it. OPS they’re close, OBP they’re even. With Cabrera having the much better second half 1.100 to .896 OPS.

  7. cosanostra71 - Oct 4, 2011 at 1:15 AM

    I understand the Trumbo pick because he put up some sexy power numbers and he’s only a rookie, but I have to agree that it should have been Howie

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